Until scientists create a special pill that makes exercise obsolete you're stuck with fitting into your skinny jeans the good old-fashioned way -- with lots of sweat and trips to the gym. Losing body fat and sculpting your body into perfection require a special formula that combines diet, exercise and a positive attitude to reach your goals. You don't have to be a die-hard fitness buff to adopt a workout plan that sheds excess body fat, but you'll most likely become one once you reap the rewards of a lean and sculpted body.
Prepping with the Right Nutrition
Losing body fat and getting that tight, toned and sexy body you’re seeking begins with a few ground rules for fueling your workout routine before you ever hit the gym. If you’re still binging on high-fat foods, making picnics of fried dishes and battling a candy addiction, you’ll have a hard time convincing your body to shed those unwanted pounds. Certified personal fitness trainer Tara Zimliki -- who ran the New York City marathon at eight months pregnant with her second child -- and owner of Tara’s Bootcamp, suggests choosing whole-grain and high-fiber meals, drinking up to eight glasses of water daily and eliminating alcohol completely. Zimliki also recommends consuming five to six smaller “healthy” meals a day to increase your metabolism. By powering your workouts with a healthy eating plan you give your body the energy it needs to reach your fat-loss goals.
Creating a Workout Routine that Suits You
Not a gym rat? You don’t have to have an affinity for the gym to reach your fat-loss fitness goals. Shed pounds and exercise your heart with high-powered cardio routines that get your body moving without the intimidating feeling of machines and scary personal trainers. Hop into a Latin-inspired Zumba dance class for group instruction that gives your entire body a workout. Popular in more than 125 countries, fitness favorite Zumba is perfect therapy for putting on your dancing shoes, burning calories quickly and lowering body fat. You can also try your hand at Pilates, ballet and traditional aerobics classes to switch up your routine.
Add the Intervals
In addition to keeping your meals lean and clean and dancing your way to a better body, Zimliki recommends integrating interval training into your fitness routine. “Interval train at least two to three days per week to increase your metabolism and reduce body fat,” says Zimliki. While it may sound a little intense, interval training isn’t as intimidating as you might think. Essentially, interval training is high-intensity and higher heart rate training done in shorter periods. This process increases your heart rate for short periods and as a result your metabolism increases for a longer period post-workout. Try sprinting, running or biking three minutes at an easy pace, then one minute at high intensity. Repeat this pattern for up to 30 minutes and challenge yourself to burn even more calories.
Pump Some Iron
It's next to impossible to become sculpted and lean, and reduce body fat by doing cardiovascular exercise alone. Balance out your fat-loss plan with a strength-training routine that increases your metabolism so you will burn calories even when you're at rest. Whether you use free weights in the comfort of your home or machine weights, try adding them into your routine two to three days per week with two to three sets of 12 to 18 repetitions. For safety and caution maintain good posture, follow directions on the weight machine and don’t hesitate to ask a professional at your gym for assistance on how to properly use the equipment.
Sherrell Dorsey is an eco-glamour expert who has been writing about beauty, fashion and health since 2009. Her work has been featured in "Frugivore Magazine," "Black Enterprise Magazine" and various online publications. Dorsey holds a Bachelor of Science in international trade and marketing for the fashion industries from the Fashion Institute of Technology.